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Darren Woodson: The Irreplaceable One Has Become One Of The Cowboys Immortals

Darren Woodson, the irreplaceable one. has finally gotten his due. He will now live forever alongside the Cowboys immortals in the Ring of Honor.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Darren Woodson will finally be enshrined into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor during the 2015 season. Tom Ryle broke the news to BTB readers earlier today, but now I want to take just a moment and reflect on what Woody meant to the team during the early portion of the Jerry Jones era. It was just a few short months ago that I had the pleasure of writing a post for these pages calling on Jones to take the necessary steps to include Woodson among the best that the franchise has ever had to offer.

Woodson was arguably Dave Campo's most significant contribution to the Dallas Cowboys. It was the former Dallas head coach, then serving as the team's defensive coordinator, who found an undersized linebacker out of Arizona State and saw in him to potential for greatness at a position the young man had never played. Woodson hit like a linebacker should and he had the athleticism to play at cornerback. Putting two and two together, Campo immediately recognized that the honorable mention All- American linebacker was the prototype for what he wanted in a safety.

It did not take Woodson long to prove that his defensive coordinator knew exactly what he was talking about. In all likelihood, even Campo underestimated the value of what Woody would bring to the Cowboys. Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News summed up things concisely in one simple phrase.

"Woodson had the run-stopping skills of a strong safety and the pass-coverage ability of a free safety. His ability to cover slot receivers made a significant difference for the defense"

Like his Ring of Honor predecessor, Cliff Harris, Darren Woodson changed the way his position was played. Both men struck fear in the hearts of their opposition and each was capable of changing the tone of a game with a single hit.

Five times over his career Woody was named to the Pro Bowl. He was also named All- Pro on three occasions. It would be easy to argue that, were it not for a prejudice against safeties, Darren Woodson would already be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During the course of his career Woody recorded an incredible 864 tackles, 702 of which were solo efforts. He also forced 17 fumbles and recovered 11 dropped balls. Another 23 takeaways were added by means of interceptions.  When he wasn't busy intercepting opposing passers, Woodson made them pay in other ways as well. He recorded 11 sacks during his illustrious career.

Far be it for me to presume that Jerry Jones read my post calling for him to enshrine Woodson in the Ring of Honor, or to believe that he would consider my opinions as being relevant to his decision making process, but I did conclude my call for Darren's induction with my opinion of just how important the man was to the dynasty era teams.

... the time has come for the Cowboys to take matters in their own hands and add the name of Darren Woodson to the Ring of Honor. His play, and his conduct away from the game, certainly indicate that Woodson is worthy to take his rightful place along side his teammates from the dynasty years and the Cowboys legends who came before him. Woody was every bit as important as guys like Aikman, Irvin, Smith, and Haley. He should be honored as such..

Yesterday, Jerry Jones did a good thing for the legacy of the Dallas Cowboys.

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